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Texas Republican U.S. Rep. Van Taylor ends campaign after admitting affair with ‘ISIS Bride’
Taylor had been forced into a runoff over support for January 6th investigation
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
PLANO, Texas (CFP) — Just one day after being forced into a primary runoff to keep his seat, Texas Republican U.S. Rep. Van Taylor, has ended his re-election campaign after admitting to an extramarital affair with the widow of an Islamic jihadist who fought for the terrorist group ISIS
The revelation of the affair appears to have been engineered by one of Taylor’s GOP primary opponents, who leaked an interview with the woman to a right-wing website.
In an email to supporters, Taylor, 49 — a married father of three from Plano whose campaign website described him as a “Family Man” — called the affair “the greatest failure of my life.”
“I want to apologize for the pain I have caused with my indiscretion, most of all to my wife Anne and our three daughters,” Taylor said.
The woman involved, Tania Joya, a British national who lived in Taylor’s district, was the widow of John Georgelas, an American convert to Islam who died fighting for ISIS in Syria in 2017. She has been dubbed as the “ISIS Bride” by the British tabloids.
With Taylor’s departure, former Colin County Judge Keith Self, who finished second in Tuesday’s primary in District 3, will become the Republican nominee and the favorite to win the seat in November in the heavily Republican district in the northern Dallas suburbs.
Taylor, who was seeking a third term in the House, was facing political headwinds from Donald Trump followers angry at him for voting to certify President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win and supporting a congressional investigation into the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol.
He won 49% of the primary vote against four challengers, one of whom, Suzanne Harp, helped engineer the public scandal that brought Taylor’s campaign to an end.
The Dallas Morning News reported that Joya revealed the affair to Harp in an attempt to get her to use the information to privately pressure Taylor to leave Congress. Instead, Harp sent a supporter to interview Joya and leaked audio of the interview to National File, a right-wing website that posted it two days before the primary.
Harp finished third behind Taylor and Self.
Joya, who left her husband and fled to Turkey shortly after he took her and their children to Syria, told the Dallas Morning News that she met Taylor through her work helping to reprogram jihadists away from extremism. Their affair lasted nine months, she said.
She also claimed that Taylor had given her $5,000 to help with expenses on the condition she not disclose the affair.